Modern Art

Jean-Michel Basquiat

There’s no picture of this dish because all the Picnik or Photoshop in the world couldn’t turn what I photographed into something pretty. Kind of like how I don’t see the “beauty” in modern art.  If you say it’s there, then I’m sure it is.  But I just don’t understand how splatters and lines and chaos on a canvas can be called a masterpiece.  I look at the Basquiat image above and have no reaction other than confusion.

I think this dish could be a food interpretation of modern art.  It involved a lot of splatters and some chaos and somewhere under all the mushrooms and Marsala is hidden beauty.  It has to be.  You just have to look hard.  Oh, that’s right, I didn’t post a photo. So I’ll let you draw your own picture.  Continue reading “Modern Art”


Maple Glazed Salmon with Asian Slaw

I don’t utter that phrase often.  It’s  like a loaded gun waiting to go off.  I might think something is foolproof but since I’m not in the kitchen with you, I can’t know if ingredients get substituted or the recipe is somehow changed.   And I don’t want to be responsible for kitchen drama.  I cause enough of it at my own house.  That’s why I try and use words like “nearly” or “darn near” anywhere close to the phrase foolproof.  But sometimes I slip up. Continue reading “Foolproof”

Chicken Curry In A Hurry

Chicken Curry In A Hurry

Dear Bon Appetit,

Please advise who tests your recipes before they go to print?  After making the Chicken Curry In A Hurry from the October 2009 magazine, I’m wondering if you actually read your own recipes.  Here’s why:

#1 – You don’t specify whether the chicken should be skin on or skinless.  Not seeing a directive to remove the skin, I kept in on.  And I had a thick layer of grease staring up at me from the pot when I went to serve.  Ick, nast.

#2 – You specify 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of chicken to be browned in one batch in a large skillet.  Assuming that 12″ counts as a large skillet, please advise how this is possible.  I used all thighs and three pounds worth equaled 8.  If I were to try and brown all eight pieces at once, I’d steam the chicken before I browned it.  Dividing the chicken into two batches makes much more sense.  Especially since the curry paste likes to scorch and the pan needed to be wiped clean.

#3 – Did you really fit 3 pounds of chicken, 14.5 ounces of diced tomatoes (and juice) and 3 cups of onion into a skillet?  Seriously?  I found that I needed to switch over to a 5 quart pot after the chicken was browned off.  You must have magic skillets.

#4 – Did you verify that 25 minutes on a low simmer was all that the chicken needed to cook completely?  Sorry but I really didn’t trust that and tacked on some additional time.  Chicken Curry In A Hurry is a nice idea but Chicken Curry In A Hurry And A Visit To The Emergency Room is not.

#5 – If you’re going to tell me to use a spice that I have to specifically go out and buy, does it have to be $15 per half ounce or whatever the grocery store was charging for cardamom.  Would it have been so hard to suggest alternate spices to use in place of cardamom?  And now that I have an entire container, minus 1 1/2 teaspoons, what the heck do I do with the rest of it?

#6 – I notice a complete absence of any reference to adding yogurt to the final sauce.  For those of us who want to cut the heat of a curry, a tablespoon of plain yogurt mixed into our serving plate is a simple solution that I didn’t see mentioned in the recipe.

#7 – How, in spite of all the above noted items, does it end up that this recipe worked so well?  Must be the magic skillets.

Best Regards,

Wendi @ BAH

Chicken Curry In A Hurry

Bon Appetit September 2009

  • 1/2 cup milk Indian curry paste (such as Patek’s)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds cut up chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine curry paste, vinegar, ginger, cumin, and cardamom in a food processor.  Blend into a paste.  Transfer spice paste to a large bowl, add chicken pieces, and rub to coat well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven over medium  high heat.  Add chicken pieces and any  remaining spice paste to the skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes per side or until well browned.  Transfer chicken to a platter.

Add onions to skillet and cook until golden, approximately 5 minutes.  If the pan dries out, add water one tablespoon at a time.  Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a simmer.  Add chicken to the skillet and bring back to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Turn chicken once during cooking and add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin the juices, if desired.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve.

{Printable Recipe}

Spice It Up

this fabulous image is from

How do you make roast chicken not boring? Spice it up. My all time favorite spice source is Penzy’s. They have a huge selection of the best quality spices at really reasonable prices. And if you’re lucky enough to have one of their retail stores near you, stop what you’re doing right now and go there. Because those of us who get our Penzy’s fix via mail order will never know the experience of walking in the door and being completely enveloped by the aroma of ginger and cumin and pepper and sage. Unlike the olfactory confusion you get when walking by the perfume counter in a department store, somehow all these different smells work together. And they’re intoxicating. I can only imagine what it smelled like along the Silk Road from all the exotic spices making their way to the New World. Continue reading “Spice It Up”

Got Stuff?

Good Stuff

People collect all sorts of things. Seriously, have you done a search on eBay for collectibles lately? Rugs, clocks, silverware, baseball cards, dolls, knives, magazines…the list is extensive. I’ll admit that the Cracker Jack Tin that lovesfairies54 was selling was pretty cool but my biggest problem with collecting stuff is that you can only do so much with it. Isn’t it more fun to use the things you love instead of just looking at them behind protective plastic? And if you’re not careful, you can cross the line from collector to hoarder. Flip on any random episode of Clean House and look what happens when you cross the line…it’s not pretty. Continue reading “Got Stuff?”



Do you remember the opening from ABC’s Wide World of Sports? Jim McKay’s voiceover promised the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. My kitchen adventures have the same quality. Sometimes I will be euphoric in success. Other times, I will be left wondering how it is that I missed the mark. To me, the worst defeats are when the dish works technically but I’m disappointed with the end result because it’s just not what I was expecting. Continue reading “Crabby”